As the sun rises in East and the call of the melodious Azan is heard, millions of Muslims bow westwards to pay reverence to the holiest of the holy places in Islam, Mecca. Islam is the religion with the second largest number of followers in the world. There are three main branches of Islam, Sunni, Shia and Sufi. The 3 cities mentioned here are considered holy by all the three sects.
These places mentioned here are 3 holiest cities of Islam. All of them are in the Middle East, where the religion of Islam originated. The core of the Islamic kingdom still lies here.
The 3 Holies Cities Of Islam:
1. Mecca: It is the holiest city of Islam for Muslims all over the world. It is the city of the holy Kabaa, hosts the black stone that is supposed to be God sent. The Kabaa was built by Ibrahim, the son of Ishmael. The Masjid-e-Haram is the holiest mosque in all of the Islamic world. There is also the well called Zamzam whose water has therapeutic properties. Your pilgrimage to Mecca is not complete without paying homage to Mount Arafat where the Prophet have his last message to the devoted. Apart from these structural features, Mecca is the holy Islamic city in which the Prophet Mohammed was born and received his enlightenment from the angel Gabriel.
2. Medina: This was the adopted city of the Prophet and also the city that holds the honour of having the first truly real mosque built according to Islamic tenets. The Kabaa Mecca existed before the advent of Islam. Mohammed had to flee Mecca as a strong group of of adversaries were planning to attack him. But Medina welcomed him with open arms. It is here that he lived and is buried. The famous Mosque of the Prophet or Masjid-al-Nabawi is built on his house where he rests in peace. It is the seat of power in the hay days of the Islamic empire as the Caliphas presided here. In both the holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina, non Muslims are strictly forbidden to enter.
3. Jerusalem: There is something very special about this city. Three major religions namely, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, consider this city as holy. Jerusalem has the Mosque of Al-Aqsa (Arabic name for Jerusalem). It is also the city to which the Prophet travelled on the night of his ascension to heaven. He travelled to Jerusalem from where he received the message of Allah, prayed with the previous prophets and went back to Mecca.
These were the holy cities of Islam. As the holy month of Ramzan is upon us, it is a good time to refresh your memory and cherish the rich historical heritage of Islam.